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New Laptop – I’m a Mac

Posted in: Programming by Steve on February 1, 2010

Macbook After going back and forth between getting a Dell, HP Envy or Asus, I decided to go outside of my comfort zone and bought a Macbook.

The reason I got it was because I wanted to learn a new programming language and to see how the other side lives.  Codemash taught me that if I want to get better as a programmer, I have to widen my experiences to more than just .NET. 

So this is the first step to jump start my learning.  I hope to upgrade it so a better hard drive (SSD), more memory and to get the new Speck soft satin case (and a travel case too).  I will be blogging more about the experience of OS-X vs Windows along with attempting to learn Ruby on Rails.

Building out a new Laptop

Posted in: Programming by Steve on January 11, 2010

LaptopIn March of 2009, I decided it was time to get a netbook.  I wanted to have something that was portable and fast.  I decided to go with the ASUS Eee PC 1000HE Blue Netbook.  It was powerful enough to run Windows 7 Ultimate, SQL Server, Visual Studio 2008 and other development applications, making it very convenient to use on the road at customer locations.  This laptop boasted a 9.5 hour battery, but I upgraded it to have 2 GB of memory and a 320 GB 7200 RPM hard drive.  This lowered the time to about 6 hours, which was more than acceptable.

After using it for 9 months and trying to show videos and do more programming on it, the netbook route isn’t working for me.  I need to have a laptop that is able to handle the load of video since my son, Conner, loves to watch the Muppets.  I am looking to upgrade to a new laptop.

The first step is to clean house.  I am what you would call a “pack rat”.  I have all my old computer equipment and other miscellaneous electronics stored in my closet, stacked to the ceiling (my wife can attest to this).  With all the stuff I have, I couldn’t possibly use it all, so I am selling it on eBay.

The second step is to determine which laptop to purchase.  Here are my requirements for the laptop:

  • Intel Core i7 Core i7 CPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • Discrete graphics card
  • Between 12” and 15.5” High Resolution LED screen
  • Bluetooth
  • capable of handling an Intel X25-M SSD upgraded hard drive
  • 3 year warranty
  • no more than $1,700
  • 0% financing for at least 6 months

ASIDE: Originally, I was looking to purchase a MacBook Pro, but since the refresh hasn’t happened and I’m well invested in the Windows environment (.NET, Windows Home Server, gaming, knowledge), I am not looking into one currently.  Maybe in the future I’ll investigate a Apple, but for now, I’m sticking to Windows laptops.

I’m still investigating the best choice from these:

Right now, the Dell seems to be winning on pricing point at $1,500 with tax and shipping and 9 months of 0% financing with the following load out:

  • Intel® Core™ i7-720QM Quad Core Processor @ 1.6GHz (2.8GHz Turbo Mode, 6MB Cache)
  • 3 Year Basic Service Plan
  • 15.6” Full High Definition (1080p) High Brightness LED Display with TrueLife™ and Camera   
  • 4GB Shared Dual Channel DDR3 at 1333MHz   
  • 320GB SATA Hard Drive (7200RPM)   
  • 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570   
  • 8X Slot Load CD/DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-R Drive)   
  • 85 Whr Lithium Ion Battery (9 cell)   
  • Intel 5300 Ultimate-N Half Mini Card (3×3) with MyWiFi   
  • Dell Wireless 365 Bluetooth Internal (2.1)   
  • Back-lit Keyboard   

With this load out, I can do all my development and show videos to Conner (like this one, his favorite) without any problems. 

The HP Envy comes out closer to $1,700 with a 3 year warranty and only 6 months of 0%. It’s too bad the HP Envy 13 doesn’t come with a Core i7 CPU because that would be the perfect replacement for my netbook.  I’m wondering if I should just get the Envy 13 since the processor is still such a better upgrade to what I have now.  I did see one of these at Fry’s the other day and it definitely is one sweet laptop.

The Asus is out of stock and I haven’t seen one in person to make an informed decision on this one.

I will update on any further information or if a purchase is made.  If you have any other thoughts or ideas for me, please feel free to comment.